Cristina Penescu’s Realistic Wolves Are Howling Good

Using an innovative scratchboard technique, she also does dogs, big cats, and bears -- and even a human or two.


Artist Cristina Penescu creates stunning photorealistic portraits of wild and exotic animals. But it’s not just her attention to detail that has earned her esteem in the art world. It’s the precision of her technique in her chosen medium: scratchboard.

Scratchboard involves a layer of white clay under a layer of black India ink, with the image slowly scratched away with a precise cutting tool like an X-Acto knife. The resulting pieces invite the viewer to look more deeply into the texture of the medium. The method itself suits her subjects, which include wild cats and wolves — animals that have claws to scratch with!

We particularly love the effect of the light glinting off the teeth of this howling wolf. The white clay seems to radiate from beneath the rich ink on top of it. It’s pretty incredible, as incredible as the creatures depicted with it.

At only 24, Penescu has already established herself as an artist to contend with, garnering awards and exhibitions, and it’s easy to see why. Her technique merits awe, and her love of animals makes her an accessible artist. She’s committed to conservation through creativity. We can’t wait to see where this burgeoning artist will go!

Bonus! After speaking with Cristina herself, she kindly sent us some photos from her TailChaser Photography portraits. They’re amazing!

Images via Cristina Penescu’s website and the TailChaser Photography Facebook page, used with permission.

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